Friday, August 11, 2006

Chyawanprash and Tobias's Watermelon Pickle poem

A few people at work take a supplement called Chyawanprash. It’s claimed to be India’s oldest longevity tonic which rejeuvenates the cells & keeps disease away.
It is neither raw nor vegan.. so it’s hard for me to fully endorse it or anything.. but it’s really interesting & has a great story behind it.

I liked the following story so much I typed it out, couldn’t c&p from the website… but he says he nicked it from an Indian website.. so I’m hoping he doesn’t mind me copying it here. It’s from:

Long, long ago there was a sage in India names Chyawan, who lived in a forest. His hair was matted and he was covered with tree growth after years of meditating in the same place. A young princess was blindfolded and dancing in the forest when her hands touched the hair of the sage. Her father, the king, explained to the sage that it was the custom in his country that a woman could only touch one man in her lifetime. Thus he requested the sage to marry his daughter. Chyawan asked if he could have two months to prepare for the wedding for he wished to be young again so as to afford his wife conjugal bliss. Thereupon, he developed the recipe for longevity that has remained India’s most popular remedy, some say for 2000 years, others since the time of the Vedas.

From wikipedia: Chywanprash is a brown-colored, sticky paste with the consistency of jam and a sweet/sour/spicy taste. It can be eaten directly (one or two teaspoons per day) or mixed in warm milk or water.
Since many companies manufacture Chyawanprash, the recipe may differ a bit. The number of herbs used in preparation of the paste varies from 25 to 80, but the main ingredient of all Chyawanprash is amla- Indian gooseberry..

Also in it is honey, cinnamon, cardamom, peppers, asparagus, turmeric, nut grass, water-lily, licorice, sandalwood, tigers claw, Ceylon-cow plant, Irish root, kudzu, zedoary, mallow and clove amongst lots & lots more. The one I tried at work has actual silver in it. You could see the silver flakes in it, very pretty!
Whether is is small enough for the body to absorb is another story.. but it’s there.

You can buy it in Little India and in many Indian grocery stores.

Reflections On a Gift of Watermelon PickleReceived from a Friend Called Felicity

by John Tobias

During that summer
When unicorns were still possible;
When the purpose of knees
Was to be skinned;
When shiny horse chestnuts
(Hollowed out
Fitted with straws
Crammed with tobacco
Stolen from butts
In family ashtrays)
Were puffed in green lizard silence
While straddling thick branches
Far above and away
From the softening affects
Of civilization;

During that summer-
Which may never have been at all;
But which has become more real
Than the one that was-
Watermelons ruled.
Thick pink imperial sheaves
Melting frigidly on sun parched tongues
Dribbling from chins;
leaving the best part,
The black bullet seeds,
To be spit out in rapid fire
Against the wall
Against the wind
Against each other;

And when the ammunition was spent,
There was always another bite;
It was a summer of limitless bites,
Of hungers quickly left
And quickly forgotten
With the next careless gorging.

The bites are fewer now.
Each one is savored lingeringly,
Swallowed reluctantly.

But in a jar put up by Felicity,
The summer which maybe never was
Has been captured and preserved
And when we unscrew the lid
And slice off a piece
And let it linger on our tongue:
Unicorns become possible again.

Fantasy artwork pic by Maria van Bruggen

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